Natural disasters

Natural disasters in Australia

Australia has been, and continues to be, impacted by natural disasters. Increased media attention, rapid spread of news through social media, and constant talk in the community about natural disasters impacts on all students, whether they have been affected directly or indirectly. Supporting students to understand and process a natural disaster, and to move forward following such an event, has positive outcomes for them, schools as a whole and the wider community.

By creating a safe space for students to discuss the complex issues associated with natural disasters, schools can enhance individuals’ and communities’ wellbeing and resilience. These issues include trauma associated with direct impact, feelings of helplessness and of wanting to do something, and anger at the perceived causes. It is important that students feel they are listened to and are aware of the support networks available to them.

ReachOut Schools has developed resources for students impacted directly or indirectly by a natural disaster. These lesson activities have been designed to support students to build resilience and improve their wellbeing. Concepts including ‘community resilience’, ‘sharing lived experience’, ‘coping with bad world news’ and ‘climate anxiety’ are explored using interactive and engaging activities to help students process their traumatic experiences and articulate their coping strategies.

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Classroom resources

Designed to be engaging and relevant to your students.

Resilience during natural disasters

Students learn about resilience and wellbeing, and about how communities can be supported in the aftermath of bushfires.

7-12

60 minutes

Coping during natural disasters

This lesson helps students who have been directly impacted by a natural disaster. Students use lived experience to evaluate how others have coped, and reflect on the strategies they have used and could use in the future.

7-12

60 minutes

Accessing professional help

This lesson will support your students in knowing how and where to access professional help to support them through a mental health issue.

7-12

60 minutes

Empathy

Students explore their understanding of empathy and recognise how to respond to people’s feelings.

7-10

60 minutes

Wellbeing Fives

Energise, refocus and develop wellbeing in your students in 5 minutes.

Dealing with bad world news

Students analyse the impact of bad world news on their wellbeing and develop their own coping strategies.

7-12

5 minutes

Climate change anxiety

Students develop practical strategies for coping with climate anxiety.

7-12

5 minutes

Self-care during natural disasters

Using bushfires as an example, students identify ways to take care of themselves and their peers during a natural disaster.

7-10

5 minutes

'How are you going?' quiz

This quiz will help your students check in with themselves.

7-12

5 minutes

Helping a friend you are concerned about

Students practise having conversations to support friends experiencing mental health difficulties.

7-12

5 minutes

Resources for parents and carers

Share with parents and carers to support a whole school approach to student wellbeing.

Natural disasters, teens and stress

You can help your teen by being open to any stress natural disasters may cause and taking steps to help them manage it.

Practical tips for your teenagers wellbeing

The mental wellbeing of your teenager is incredibly important. Check out these five practical tips for improving their wellbeing.

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Get professional advice early to learn about how to manage your teen's mental health and wellbeing.

Resources for students

Engaging and reliable content for young people to support their wellbeing. 

Dealing with stress of natural disasters

While natural disasters are out of your control, there are things you can do to feel better and to get help.

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Dealing with change can sometimes be uncomfortable, stressful or even scary. Here are some things you can do to make coping with changes in your life a little easier.

Coping with the stress from the drought

Here are some of the signs to look out for and practical ways to help you cope with stress and look after yourself.

How to deal with sad anniversaries

Learn more here about common reactions to anniversaries and how to cope with these sad times.